Prince William Sound Crab Test Fishery

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is taking a new look at the possibilities of reviving the Tanner crab fishery in Prince William Sound, which has been closed since 1988.

A Tanner crab test fishery will be conducted in Prince William Sound from Oct. 20 through Dec. 15, and data collected will be used to evaluate tanner crab abundance in currently unsurveyed parts of the Sound.

ADF&G’s goal is to determine the distribution of Tanner carb outside the current trawl survey area and at historical survey and commercial fishery locations. Biologists will measure catch per pot and begin developing an index of abundance for male Tanner crab recruit categories and females, and collect information on tanner crab size, sex, and maturity status.

ADF&G officials began marking Tanner crab test fishery bid packets available on Sept. 19 at Cordova and Homer. Those bid packets are due back by noon on Oct. 14, and the contract is to be awarded by Oct. 17 to the best-qualified bidder.

ADF&G said bids would be accepted for two individual lots of 300 pot pulls each, with all legal male crab from these pots sold.

Bidders must demonstrate that there is a market for the legal male Tanner crab caught and retained during the test fishery. A processor’s letter of intent will be required from the winning bidders.

The minimum bid price is 10 percent of proceeds from the sale of all Tanner crab paid to the state of Alaska, with the remaining proceeds will be paid out to successful bidders.

Landings in the Prince William Sound Tanner crab commercial fishery declined from a peak of 13.9 million pounds during the 1971-1972 season to some 474,092 pounds in the 1988 season, the last year the fishery was prosecuted.

The fishery has been closed since due to low abundance demonstrated in earlier pot surveys and the current biennial trawl survey.